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1 November 2012, 10:23
South Cambridgeshire District Council has announced plans to buy and reopen an old traveller's site near Meldreth.
South Cambridgeshire District Council bosses confirmed in June that independent research had established that 20 extra pitches would be needed in the district up until 2031, to meet the Council’s legal responsibility to provide sufficient housing for travellers.
Financial approval is being sought to use £500,000 of funding already secured from central government to build the site.
Enforcement officers from public bodies covering the area currently deal with almost one case every week where travellers set up illegally on private land or by the roadside, and the proposed site will help alleviate some of the problem.
The report also seeks approval to purchase two existing traveller sites in the district at Whaddon and Blackwell – a site off the A14 near Milton. Both sites are currently owned by Cambridgeshire County Council but managed on their behalf by South Cambridgeshire District Council.
If purchases are agreed, South Cambridgeshire District Council will also bid for further government funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to improve the site at Whaddon. This funding would also be used to add two further pitches through better use of the land.
Travellers living on Council run sites – which Mettle Hill would be – are charged rent that covers the cost of a site manager as well as maintaining facilities to a high standard.
Government funding to develop Mettle Hill was secured in a joint bid with Cambridge City Council and at least one of the 8-10 pitches at the proposed site would be offered to them to meet their identified need.
If plans are agreed by Cabinet next week, a paper will then be presented to a meeting of Full Council on Thursday 22nd November so all councillors can vote on whether to purchase all the sites.